respect to the beings that we ourselves are. But the fact that every being is a being is all too empty and unquestionable. Most definitely—such things tell us nothing in our everyday busyness, and above all they cannot represent a serious question for us. What else is there for us to ask about: either beings are in this way or in some other way, either they are not at all or they are. Yet however things stand, in all this we heed the being of beings and make constant decisions concerning it. Why? Can we not simply stick to beings, to this or that one which concerns us, oppresses us, makes us happy or just happens to cross our path? The being of beings is something we can leave to the philosophers for their empty and dubious speculations.
If only we could do that—get by without being! Yet it must be possible. The incontrovertible evidence for this is our own history—up to that moment when we became involved with philosophy and heard something of the being of beings, though merely heard it without comprehending anything. Up to that point we knew and sought after, busied ourselves with and honoured beings, and perhaps suffered from beings, without any need for being. Beings themselves, which is what everything depends on, after all, were indeed immediately accessible to us before, without any tiresome reflection intervening. We can relinquish the being of beings and stick only to beings.
It is incontestable that we can comport ourselves toward beings without ever worrying for a moment about the philosophical question concerning the being of beings. Yet does it follow from this that we have never heard of the being of beings and hear from it only in philosophizing? Or must we not conclude, conversely, that if the philosophical question of the being of beings is possible, indeed perhaps even necessary, then philosophy cannot find what it asks about by inventing it. It must somehow find itself before it, and indeed find itself before it as something belonging not to the realm of the arbitrary, but to the essential, indeed to the very essentiality of everything essential. If, however, philosophy in all its questioning can only reach its findings and has to find its way with whatever is primarily an essential find—a find that man qua man has thus in each case already made without knowing it—is the situation not then that the being of beings has already been found prior to and apart from all philosophy, although it is a find that is so worn and in its primordiality lies so far back in primal time that we pay no heed to it? Do we first hear of the being of beings through philosophy, or have we already found the being of those beings we comport ourselves toward and ourselves belong to? Have we not always already and long since found our way with this find, so that we pay no heed to it at all, pay so little heed to it that instead in all our comportment toward beings we fundamentally fail to hear the being of beings—fail to hear it in such a way that we arrive at the opinion, perhaps strange and even impossible, that we could just stick to beings and dispense with being? And yet—the most profound undifferentiatedness and indifference of ordinary understanding does not lie in that undifferentiated